Hello readers! I was planning to write this post ever since I switched my free WP and then paid WP blog to self-hosted but I wanted to wait for one full year before I share my experience and can tell what is Pros and Cons of Self-Hosting for Book Bloggers, whether to switch or not, or if taking plan from WP itself is worth or not…
I’m not going in detail about what’s self-hosting and how you switch to it and what’s the guide or the process. You will find hundreds of articles on that. What I’m going to talk about here is the advantages and disadvantages based on my experience, of switching to a self-hosted site. This can be different from other self-hosted bloggers as mostly it depends on the hosting site or how good you’re at this.
Pros of Self-Hosting for Book Bloggers
1. Ownership of your site
If you have a free WP or paid plan, you must know WP doesn’t exactly give the ownership of your site to you. It has its control over your site. If you have WP free plan, you see WP subdomain – xxx.wordpress.com and WP puts its own ads to earn revenue from free WP blogs. With a paid plan you can have your own domain but still don’t have the flexibility to put your own code or make the blog look as you want. There is also limit to growth and space for your data. But Switching to self-hosted makes your blog your own. You have control on ads, or if you don’t want to have ads at all, and according to plans you get from hosting provider, you have as much space as you want, basically more space and more growth than WP.com gives. Self-hosting makes your blog your own brand.
This is one thing I love most. I tried WP paid plan before switching to self-hosted, thinking I will have many options with themes and plugins. No! WP paid plans gave limited themes and you can’t exactly install plugins, you have to get a business plan for that which is costly. With self-hosted site, I get unlimited theme, can install plugins, have header and footer, page templates, colors, fonts and page width as I want and if I don’t get the look from theme I can adjust with simple CSS code.
For example mine is Ashe theme, you can see HERE the theme’s font is small that I don’t like so I have added CSS for that and I have also added CSS for line spacing.
3. SEO and ranking
SEO feels like magic. If you don’t know SEO is Seach Engine Optimization. I’m not exactly a tech person, I don’t fully understand SEO but I follow a simple thing that makes sense to me- a good quality keyword, include it in title, in first paragraph and in the featured image, and be sure the SEO ratio of my post is 80% or more- and it takes the post higher on search engines. I get my followers and view from WP readers but I get as many more visitors and views through search engines.
As per my understanding, with WP free or paid, you don’t get to choose your keyword, WP automatically sets it for your post, which means it might work for your post or it might not. You don’t have control over it but with self-hosted site you have SEO plugins (I use AIOSEO, I find it simple than Yoast that most people use), that give you control and also show how best it will work.
You can also analyze Headline with Headline analyzer that also helps with ranking of your post higher in search engines.
This is one thing I love most because let’s be honest we book bloggers don’t exactly earn. It’s a free hobby thing that we love to do no matter what. But going self-hosting needs money, same with paid WP and that we usually don’t have as we, at least I, always want to buy more books than spend it on blog that doesn’t give any monetary return.
Unless you go for business WP plan you don’t get to do anything about earning which is again costly. Any other plans don’t allow you to run third-party ads nor they let you install woocommerce plugins. As I don’t sell anything I don’t need Woocommerce but I can run ads through self-hosting and that gives little bit of money. Yes, I do need lots of traffic to earn enough to make my self-hosting totally free but I can see that happening or at least hope for it in future. Tbh, a little is better than nothing.
5. Pocket friendly
I’m money-saving person so I always go for the cheapest and like I said I wish to keep money for books and spend minimum on blog. So when it comes to comparison self-hosting is way cheaper than paid WP plan. Different Web hosting charges are different as per the features they give. You have to find the right one. They sure give lots of features and flexibility than WP plan.
Yes, of course, it looks way more professional and also beautiful with all that flexibility.
Cons of Self-Hosting for Book Bloggers
1. Harder to set up
You need to be well informed and well researched before you go for Self-hosting. It’s not as easy as all articles out there say, at least not for a person like me who isn’t tech-savvy. I needed to get help for my own set up and I still made mistake as I didn’t exactly understand the old domain name I had was from WP.com and I should have transferred it to self-hosting server. I thought I get free domain with my plan and so I don’t need to do anything with it and just enter domain name I had. I WAS SO WRONG! It’s after my domain experied I understood what the heck was the issue. It was a nightmare. So you see, you need to make sure you are doing everything right or get help of an expert.
2. No support if anything goes wrong
Yup, be prepared to solve things on your own or hire someone who is an expert as you don’t get the support from any hosting provider. I had my domain name issues and then I had issues with Jetpack as my posts weren’t showing up in WP Reader initially and we all know most viewers we get are through WP reader. I had to solve everything on my own. It was time consuming and the headache comes free with no pain killer. Thankfully I had people around me who helped me.
3. Site backups
You have to back up your data manually from time to time. Nobody takes care of it unless you pay extra for that to Jetpack or some other site.
4. As the site grows cost increases
I haven’t reached that stage yet but I have seen people talking about it. If you don’t put ads or find a way to earn from blog, eventually in longer run you might find self-hosting as costly as WP plans.
5. WP readers can’t find you through tags unless you keep yourself visible through blog hopping and interaction.
For most bloggers this is deal breaker because WP community is so huge and we all get most of our followers through WP. They find us by searching through tags we use in posts. Unless you have Paid Jetpack you can’t hope to be found by WP readers or WP community who isn’t following you. People can type in your blog name or title of your post and find you, but what’s the probability they hit the exact words that lead to your site? You still can be part of the community by Free Jetpack which helps you connect with your old WP followers and make your post visible to WP readers but you have to rely on other WP bloggers and social media or blog hop a lot to make your blog visible for all of the WP followers.
6. Your site performance depends on hosting server
Performance and loading speed depends on hosting server. If my hosting provider/server is on maintenance, my site also goes on maintenance mode and it wouldn’t work for that particular time period.
In conclusion, in my experience, it’s not that easy to set up self-hosting site like every articles in Google suggest. However, it’s not same for every bloggers. Some bloggers have a smooth experience, they are damn lucky or really good with these things, some have better self-hosting site that charges more and help with the transition and all but if you’re willing to do research and work on it, have some tech-savvy gene, or relative or friend that can help you, I’m 100% sure you should go for self-hosting. Once everything is set up, it’s very easy and smooth. Also, the community is amazing at helping whenever you’re stuck. I love my self-hosted blog and I’ll continue to use it for now.
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,
What do you think about this post?
Do you agree or disagree with my points?
What tips you’ll give to bloggers who want to switch to self-hosted site?
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